The 9 Best Massage Pillows

Updated June 15, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

9 Best Massage Pillows
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. With all the stress of living in the modern age, everybody's carrying tension in their necks, backs, and elsewhere that needs relief. Something from our selection of massage pillows can provide an added soothing dimension to your relaxation time. We've included head and neck-only options through to full-back coverage models that include calming heat and adjustable pressure. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best massage pillow on Amazon.

9. Liteaid Lumbar LA-177M

It doesn't get much simpler than the Liteaid Lumbar LA-177M. It has a soft, comfortable cover and a relatively firm memory foam core that provides the pressure your sore back needs. It runs on two AA batteries and offers three different vibration levels.
  • lightweight and easy to transport
  • easy to turn on and off
  • vibration is a bit loud
Brand Liteaid
Model LA-177M
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Relaxzen 60-2910P

The Relaxzen 60-2910P is designed to be draped over an existing seat. It features 10 vibrating motors distributed at various points along your neck, back, and thighs that can be controlled independently and operate at eight intensity levels.
  • backlit remote control
  • a car power adapter
  • overall construction feels cheap
Brand Relaxzen
Model 60-2910P
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. HoMedics Shiatsu Plus SP-25H

The HoMedics Shiatsu Plus SP-25H is a luxuriously quilted cushion that delivers deep kneading and vibration to help you relax. It has an optional heating function, and an adjustable flap that provides added insulation if things get too intense.
  • uses four disks to apply pressure
  • impressively strong kneading action
  • must be plugged in to an outlet
Brand Homedics
Model SP-25H
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Sunwell International Buzzy Orb

The Sunwell International Buzzy Orb looks like an innocuous fuzzy cushion, but it has a hidden vibration feature for a soothing effect when you're lying in bed or sitting on the couch. It automatically activates when leaned on, so it's good for surprising guests, too.
  • runs on two aa batteries
  • good for easing abdominal cramps
  • synthetic fabric feels cheap
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. M Cushion Ultimate Comfort

Available in seven styles, the M Cushion Ultimate Comfort looks just like a regular throw pillow, but it can be flipped over for a penetrating shiatsu therapy, with four nodes to knead your back in a circular motion. Use it in your chair at work or on the couch at home.
  • cover is machine washable
  • detachable power cord
  • heating function can't be used alone
Brand M Cushion
Model DLX7-FG
Weight 8.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Comfort Products Lumbar Cushion

The Comfort Products Lumbar Cushion offers lower back support, perfect for office chairs or for long hauls in the car. It can also be used on the floor to relieve backaches and pain, and includes both wall and car outlet adapters for versatility.
  • rear strap for seat attachment
  • good value for the price
  • microfiber cover is not removable
Brand Comfort Products
Model 60-2802MR05
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Nekteck Shiatsu

The Nekteck Shiatsu is small enough to take with you from the home to the office, but it packs a powerful deep-kneading punch thanks to its four rotating nodes. It comes with a car adapter so you can strap it to your headrest to add a relaxing element to your commute.
  • breathable mesh material
  • contours to your body
  • doesn't get too hot
Brand Nekteck
Model pending
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Naipo Neck and Shoulder

While its name may specify certain areas, the Naipo Neck and Shoulder can be strapped to just about any part of your body for relaxation and comfort with its kneading shiatsu feature engaged. It's a good option for travel, as it's about the size of a standard neck cushion.
  • simple integrated control panel
  • independent heat function
  • protected against overheating
Brand Naipo
Model ET-200
Weight 4.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

1. Zyllion ZMA-13 Shiatsu

The Zyllion ZMA-13 Shiatsu is compact but powerful, with an adjustable strap for mounting it onto the headrest of your car or wherever else you might need it. It's programmed with a 20-minute auto shutoff, just in case you use it in bed and happen to nod off.
  • available in five colors
  • four rotating nodes
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
Brand Zyllion
Model ZMA-13-BK
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

How Do I Choose a Proper Massage Pillow For Me?

The first thing any person needs to consider whenever shopping for a massage pillow is what exactly they plan on using that pillow for. A lot of run-of-the-mill massage pillows can ease tension, whereas a superior pillow has numerous settings, some of which are geared toward alleviating chronic symptoms associated with lumbar pressure, sciatica, and other back-related pain.

Certain massage pillows are even capable of offering a specific type of massage, like, say, shiatsu. Shiatsu is a Japanese form of pressure therapy that's been proven to ease headaches, stiffness, anxiety, insomnia, lower-back pain, and certain digestive disorders (among other things). The point being that if you've benefited from a systematic style of massage, it may be worth pursuing a therapeutic pillow that can provide a fairly similar approach.

Beyond that, you'll want to consider where you plan on placing a massage pillow. If you plan on placing a pillow on your car seat or an office chair, for example, you'll need a model that's compact, and will not force you to lean forward. If you plan on placing a pillow in a specific room, you'll want a model that matches that room's decor. If you'd like to take a massage pillow with you during business trips, it's best to choose a lightweight model (i.e., less than 3 lbs) so that you can check it in with your carry-on luggage. Be sure to confirm that any travel pillow can be operated by way of battery power, given that you plan on using it outside the home.

How to Create a Relaxing Atmosphere Inside Your Home

In order to fully enjoy the benefits of a massage pillow, you'll want to set up an atmosphere that feels welcoming, free of distraction, and warm. The first step should be choosing a space that appears sedate, preferably with muted tones. You may want to spray this space with some antiseptic, and you may also want to dim the lights, and light a candle. Professional masseuses tend to use scented candles, including selections like sandalwood, lavender jasmine, or rose.

Once you've created a tranquil setting, determine whether you'd like to adjust the thermostat or open a window. If you live in a busy area, you may want to keep your windows closed to avoid being distracted by any white noise. If you own curtains or blinds, it is important to draw these, as passing shadows or piercing sunlight could prove distracting to your cause.

If you prefer to listen to ambient music during a massage, it may help to create a playlist so you don't need to hit stop or fast forward. You may also want to stream your music via a laptop or a docking station, as opposed to being tethered to any handheld player, or its cord.

As a precaution, make sure to power down your phone and any other digital devices prior to the start of a massage session. It becomes increasingly difficult not to be distracted, if not disrupted, by the ping of an email, or the buzz of a phone.

A Brief History of Massage

The earliest evidence of massage comes by way of ancient cave drawings, and similar etchings. Subsequent records confirm that massage was practiced as a means of pain relief (particularly for soldiers) throughout Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, Japan, India, Rome, and Greece.

During the 3rd Century BCE, the Chinese compiled a printed history of their medical practices known as the Huangdi Neijing (a.k.a. "The Emperor's Inner Canon"). This text included more than three dozen references to back, foot, neck, and body massage, with the majority of these references recommending massage as an effective means of alleviating pain.

It was during this period that an Indian guru named Shivago Komarpaj devised a holistic regimen of treatments based on acupuncture, reflex mechanics, muscle development, acupressure, and early forms of yoga. Komarpaj's research and methodology gained widespread acclaim after he began to treat the Buddha. Soon after, Komarpaj was credited with developing what we now refer to as Thai massage.

In 581 CE, China instated massage therapy as an aspect of its imperial curriculum, meaning that massage would be studied, performed, and prescribed by medical students and licensed physicians throughout that country and its surrounding regions. A century later, the European elite began to employ massage as an entitled form of stress relief and repose.

During the 1800s, a Swedish gym instructor named Pehr Henrik Ling developed his own form of massage based on relaxing, and then re-energizing, the body's upper-most layer of soft tissue. Ling's methods became so renowned among therapists, professional trainers, and coaches that by the end of the 19th century, the term Swedish Massage had been born.

Today, massage is more popular than it has ever been. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers spend $6 billion a year on massage products and services in the United States alone.

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Last updated on June 15, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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